Monkeys use trees to catapault themselves out of Japanese laboratory
Monkeys at a research institute in Japan have used the branches of trees
to catapault themselves over an electric fence in order to escape
By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo
07 Jul 2010
The monkeys were lured back in with peanuts Photo: ALPHA PRESS
group of 15 monkeys at Kyoto University's primate research institute in
Aichi Prefecture, which are the focus of a string of high-profile scientific
studies, escaped from their forest home which is encased by a 17ft high
The monkeys made their bid for freedom by using tree
branches to fling themselves one by one over the high voltage electric fence
located nearly three metres away.
However, despite the intelligence shown in their great escape, the
primates appeared unsure as to what to do with their newfound freedom: the
monkeys remained by the gates of the research centre and were lured back
into captivity by scientists armed with peanuts.
"It was an
incredible escape and the first time something like this has ever happened,"
Hirohisa Hirai, the deputy head of the Primate Research Institute told the
"We think that maybe there was some kind of dispute
among the monkeys in the forest and so this group decided to leave.
"Fortunately, they stayed by the fence after escaping as they probably
wanted to stay near to the other monkeys so we managed to recapture them
"But we were extremely surprised by the intelligence and the
power they used in order to escape."
Scientists have since cut the
trees in order to prevent a repeat escape, Mr Hirai added.
institution is one of the world's leading primate research centres, with a
series of internationally recognised studies exploring the social
interaction, behaviour, biology and evolution of primates.
Japanese monkeys currently live in the enclosed forest space within the
confines of the institute from which the group of primates managed to
Monkeys bust out of Aichi research center
Wednesday 07th July
A 5.3-meter high-voltage wire fence at Kyoto University’s research center
in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, proved no match for a dozen monkeys who broke
out on Monday night researchers said Tuesday. The monkeys first climbed up
trees and then used the branches as slingshots to propel themselves over the
fence, researchers said. The trees are about two meters high and about three
meters from the fence.
“Their jumping power was greater than we thought,” said Hirohisa Hirai,
deputy head of the institute. Two of the primates returned to the center on
Tuesday, while five others--which were hanging around outside the
fence--were recaptured by luring them with peanuts. Five monkeys are still
Those monkeys are for
National BioResource Project "Japanese